The Permanent Imminence of the Fatal


BIM, Biennial of Moving Image, Museum MUNTREF, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, curated by Gabriela Golder and Andrés Denegri, October 29th to December 20th, 2016

The question of fear is a gaudily well-trodden terrain. In the everyday we tend to relate it to our present condition and no doubt we say: we live in fear today. This is immediately followed by a consensus that fear is a phenomenon of our hyper-informed age. In this respect, the mass media plays a fundamental role at the service of power, for whom it is desirable to have a meek society, placated by a conspiracy of fears. It sounds coherent, but wasn’t fear widespread before the internet, before television, before radio and newspapers? It’s true that the presence of the media intimidates us, but what then can we think of the idea of God, dead today but nonetheless omnipresent? And what of that vast, overwhelming Nature before him? And as part of that, the Other, always lying in wait. MORE

MONO X: Screening at the Dungeon

Co-curated by Tim Korn of Dungeon Beach and MONO NO AWARE

A curated evening of selected shorts featuring artists and projects we have worked with. The night will include films from Celia Rowlson-Hall, Orit Ben-Shitrit, Fritz Donelly, Ted Wiggin, Jesse Flower-Ambroch, Sammy Davis Jr and Sam Kuhn.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dungeon Beach 63 North 3rd Street Brooklyn, NY, 11249

ONOMONO featured at the Herzliya Museum of Art

The exhibition, comprised of 6 solo projects, is curated by Aya Lurie. It draws reference to Jonathan Crary‘s book 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep.

Opening: January 16, 2016, through April 30th, 2016


Jonathan Crary depicts a contemporary world that is technological, virtual, global, intensely feverish, restless and inattentive, which pushes aside elementary human needs – particularly the need for sleep and relaxation time – so as to advance capitalism’s ceaseless production and consumerism. Therefore, although progress and technological developments were supposed to enhance the quality of our lives, in fact we are now required to be functional at all times and currently sleep, on average, less hours a day than ever before. The natural cycles of time, rooted in the Earth’s revolving on its axis and its rotation around the sun, are replaced by artificial light that has no time limits. We are connected nonstop, online, to our social and work life, ready at any given moment to instantly reach any point on the face of the planet, whether by plane or Skype, and are increasingly subject to different forms of control and surveillance. The time of our age, Crary claims, “is a time that no longer passes, beyond clock time.” The current display at the museum includes a number of one-person shows and individual projects, all of which are affined to this experience of the current age – some engaging with it directly and others touching on it obliquely.

 

house of flying bøøbs

“At the breast of history I sucked and pissed.”
—Jiang Qing, Nixon in China (John Adams, 1987)

House of Flying Boobs is a performance art cabaret interweaving four distinct acts and several visual and performing arts genres: opera, theatre, burlesque and contemporary dance that burrow into a bewildering range of topics: the force of capitalism in Europe’s financial and humanitarian crisis; the sexual and political agency of women from the age of myth and biblical tales to Surrealism and the Cultural Revolution; the fabrication of discourse in the artist interview format.

Featuring: Nadim Abbas, Orit Ben-Shitrit (video artist/choreographer), Rainer Ganahl, Mary Notari (activist/stage actress), Tuo Wang, Mo Zhou (theatre/opera director), among other musicians, designers, composers, and performers. Curated by Xin Wang.

More information here.

Nov 12, 2015 Thursday at Nuyorican Poets Café (7:30 pm) | 236 E 3rd St
Nov 16, 2015 Monday at Bowery Poetry Club (6:30pm) | 308 Bowery

Originally conceived and performed in 2012, AUCTIONING OFF THE GREEK DEBT negotiates the European debt crisis by creating a new financial tool—a commodity derivative—by the two most powerful entities in the EU: Germany and France. Three dancers: German, French and Greek enact an abstract financial scenario involving their respective languages. The qualities of the Greek dancer are bundled and sold as commodity derivatives by Germany and France. The performance, now re-staged with an uncanny sense of relevancy, is a set of actions that trigger a chain of responses and interweave/interfere with the cabaret’s various acts. All is told through choreographed movement, combined with language phrases spoken with an Economy of Consonants—a restricted form of communication. The performers punch a time clock to underscore the movement transactions. Dancers: Martina Potratz, Sandra Passirani and Dafni Mari.

Conceived, sound collaged and choreographed by Orit Ben-Shitrit.

 

EMPAC screening tomorrow night 1/31/15

“Presenting five dance films, commissioned or developed at EMPAC. Three of the works are supported by the DANCE MOViES Commission—experimental dance works for the screen, which vary widely in content and form, yet are united by the fact that they are crafted by a choreographer or movement-based artist.”
For more info: EMPAC DANCE MOViES Commission

I’m very excited to see WARD OF THE FERAL HORSES on the big screen tomorrow night at EMPAC. I spent the past month with sound collaborator and mixer Timothy Korn and Editor Jeremy aka the EnHancer to engage you sonically and visually. Tristan Kneschke helped us harmonize the color space, and many more people like DP Chapin Hall and choreographer Kate Corby, actors and dancers have been engaging participants. It’s been a beautiful ride. I recently realized this celebration is rooted in Tropicalia, of which I learned from an inspiring friend — Ju. Scroll all the way to the beginning of this blog and you will find her.

work in progress: EMPAC commission

i’m finally posting some production images from the new project. i spent almost two weeks in residence up in Troy, NY with the wonderful EMPAC team lead by Ash Bulayev, along with my dear friends choreographer Kate Corby, DP Chapin Hall, and Assistant director James Francis Cerretani. as always, the cast and crew are all fantastic people. lucky bastard. we had a ton to get done, and we did it all. wish you could have been there.

for a few months now, i’ve been editing with the Jerrrs C-hance and Anne-Laure, and making all original sounds with forever Tim Korn at the Dungeon. i’m even singing! we’ve been sculpting the cut and going back and forth between the edit and sound composition. our timeline is a mess, and they want to kill me. stay tuned.

a couple of weeks ago we received a grant from the Ostrovsky Family Fund to make a three channel iteration of the project. we shot with three cameras, so we are all set to make you go cray. thank you, Ostrovsky ladies. you rock and once again you make wrong be right. molto danke.

Max Cosmo Cramer in (new title,yes!) WARD OF THE FERAL HORSES

Max Cosmo Cramer and Doug Barron in WARD OF THE FERAL HORSES

L. and R. aka Max and Doug

DANCERS:
Joanna Kotze, MCC, Brittany Engel-Adams, Or Reitman,
Cara Angela Liguori and Pascale Seigneurie (not pictured)

WARD OF THE FERAL HORSES

 

 

CROSSBREEDS 14 Austria

Please join Im_flieger in the former Stollwerck chocolate factory in Vienna’s 12th district for a screening of VIVE LE CAPITAL.

CROSSBREEDS 2014 is in search of time. Neoliberal politics has destroyed all forms of time standing in the way of the logic of efficiency and capital. Contemporary man faces the challenge of managing the number of possible situations and their varying time shapes. In order to do this, he continuously moves between internalized rhythms and routines, and the flexible and reflexive creation of individual time structures.
We’re addressing contemporaries and contemporary witnesses who guide or accompany us on historical paths. We attempt time jumps into the future and let ourselves be abducted into fictions of the present. We investigate the city’s body, we embody time. Together with time workers we surrender to sweet idleness and let the continuous bustle of everyday life come to a standstill.
Our stories are mixed with history. We keep claiming our place and at sunrise and sundown visit strange animals in Vienna’s first urban national park. Walking, we meet other cities and times, focusing the unnoticed, and in the walk-in archive we blend Yesterday with Today. We unfold to become an urban stage, let the flow change direction and appropriate Revolution 1934 playfully. Blind between glances, we are ready for the zombie’s slow pace, holding our breath for 5 minutes. Ceaselessly we caress the cheek and dissolve in whiteness or listen to the timeless transformation.

KINO DER KUNST

 

VIVE LE CAPITAL has been selected to screen at KINO DER KUNST—a first time event presenting films by visual artists who take cinema beyond its traditional boundaries and explore new narrative forms. I’m humbled to show alongside some of my favorite artists like: Rä di Martino, Guido van der Werve, Uriel Orlow and Omer Fast.

KINO DER KUNST: April 24 to 28, 2013 in Munich, Germany.

VIVE LE CAPITAL exhibitions

I’m very pleased to announce that VIVE was chosen for the 18th edition of Videobrasil. 90 works were selected from 2000 proposals from 34 countries. Videobrasil will take place in São Paulo later this year.
Happening soon:
The SF Indie Film Fest: Showing under the shorts screening, Defying The Limits at the Roxie theater. Sun, 2/10 2:46 PM / Tue, 2/12 7:15 PM
Still ongoing:
MACRO Museum, Rome: Curated by Micol Di Veroli Through 17.03.2013
And in NYC with the non-for profit No Longer Empty in LIC: Through 03.13.2013

onomono performance stills

The word ONOMONO is a palindrome—it can be read forward and back. The video begins and ends with the same visual note. The sound is created using alive-feed into a Kaleidoloop—a recording device that can manipulate speed, pitch and direction. During the performance, I sampled sounds live—some by recording the audience—which I then played back, forward and in reverse at different speeds and pitch to create the soundtrack.

ONOMONO depicts a circle of destruction. It captures the ailments of our society through various archival footage, such as gruesome animal experiments, depression-era economic graphics, schizophrenia and OCD patients. this is what happens when you soak up the coming insurrection.

This experiment was preformed at Cristin Tierney gallery NY, on Dec 17, 2011. It was a collaboration with two of my friends—Jeremy C. Hansen and Timothy Korn.

‪After watching Brian Greene on PBS last night discussing quantum physics in The Fabric of the Cosmos, I had a question about time.‬

‪I read elsewhere (Time’s Arrow, an Oct. 8th article in New Scientist magazine) that currently, we think of Time as moving in one direction—forward—unlike the orientation of space, in which we can move in various directions. OK that makes sense.‬

‪But Greene talked about the discrepancy between quantum mechanics (micro particles) and the theory of relativity (macro). If this issue of space is unsettled, that what does it mean for Time? Can we also move through time in other directions that we are unaware of currently?‬

La Jetée‬, by Chris Marker, 1962, has influenced many artists’ and non-artists’ films. The most quotable is probably Twelve Monkeys. In ‪La Jetée’s post-apocalyptic reality, the protagonist is told the only hope for the survival of the human race is not in travel to Space, but travel in Time. Specifically, travel through images already existing in one’s mind.

conspicuous consumption, the peacock’s tail and trash art

The peacock carries a magnificent iridescent tail, which amounts to more than 60% of its total body length. Its feathers fan out in a display of an eye-like form made of blue or green, gold red and purple shimmer. To attract females (peahens), the male peacock flares his feathers open, displaying his glimmering baroque decoration. Why would a peacock carry such a large over-burdening aesthetic display, possibly putting itself in danger from its predators?

Most animals and humans are bilaterally symmetrical: they have two or more symmetrical limbs, two eyes, two nostrils and so on. The more symmetrical the face and body appear, the less of an indication that an underlying genetic screw-up, or a physical/mental handicap exists. This evolutionary parameter plays a large role in sexual attraction, and in our assessment of beauty—we tend to consider people who appear most symmetrical as beautiful. Therefore, the best-ornamented peacock male will have the possibility of attracting the most maternaly-inclined female. Her qualities coupled with his health and fitness can offer the best opportunity for a survivor offspring.

The peacock’s long and handsome tail not only signals to peahens that he is healthy and carries good genes, but more importantly, that he is faster and quicker in battle than his predators in spite of his encumbering train. In other words: since carrying such a big tail puts the peacock’s life at stake, then his signaling of strength and health must be reliable and honest. This hypothesis of honest signaling1 is known as the handicap principle. It suggests that the signified must be costly to the signaling animal to be reliable.

The system of signaling strength and quality (for the purpose of sexual selection) is often discussed in relation to art and its history as a system of signals in humans. Art’s value2 is created by a mechanism that includes curators, critics, dealers and collectors, and the term value doesn’t always imply monetary exchange. However, when considering minimalist trash art, I find a gap between the way the work is discussed and what is actually there.

[ I took this photo in a run-down building on Governor's Island. It's not trash art yet, but if I ripped out the carpet and placed it in a white cube, it could be a good contender ]

I also find it curious that artists who work with trash art manage to be presented by commercial galleries, and have their work sold for substantial prices. It would seem rather conservative of me, and perhaps a bit ignorant to try and discredit their work. I would instead explain the works’ lineage and propose a question: since we live in a capitalist society, which relies heavily on private funding, why do collectors buy art that is made of rearranged trash?

Artists who’s work can be categorized as trash art, often point to Richard Tuttle as their heritage. Tuttle’s 1975 survey exhibition at the Whitney, received a scathing review by Hilton Kramer, the art critic for The NY Times who wrote, “in Mr. Tuttle’s work, less is unmistakably less…One is tempted to say, art is concerned, less has never been as less than this.” This was a monumental moment in American history of art. Due to the bad review, Marcia Tucker—the show’s curator—lost her job and started a new museum: the New Museum.

This reaction to the work and reaction to that reaction led to the endorsement of minimalist trash art by the (new) institution. I should add that I see a difference between Tuttle’s work and the Modernist processes that brought to the development of European Bricolage including Kurt Schwitters’ pieces entitled Merzbau. I attribute this difference to the reliance of the American system on private funding, although admittedly, the European system is also capitalist in nature. The circle of belief2 in the United States is tilted in the direction of the collector/buyer rather than to the learnt curator, critic or art historian and not in the direction of public funding for equal right exploration. The European system, however, allows a space for artists and arts organizations to operate, a space that is independent of the sways of the art market.

Art is a form of conspicuous consumption and the ultimate display of wealth in humans. If we follow the idea behind the handicap principal, that the peacock’s tail is a signifier for strength, then spending lots of money on something that looks worthless is the ultimate human signifier for wealth. It means the collector’s actions involve honest signaling because they didn’t buy something that looks well-made and possibly commercial, but something that seemingly does not justify a price at all. Additionally, not only does owning trash art speak to the collector’s abundance of funds, but it implies the collector is an influential person himself who has the insider’s scoop, and is someone who gets it.

This could all be fine. The trouble is that the system at play influences what artists make. And instead of getting to the heart of what matters, they fall into the trap of internal games. Is the work as charged and engaging as can be, or is it only alive by power of opposition?

Orit Ben-Shitrit
2010

[ This unrelated photo is from a parking lot in Tel Aviv. Whoever made this mark on the wall, might have been concerned that a driver might occupy a bigger parking spot than intended. Well, can you blame him/her? ]

 

1 Helena Cronin, The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today.

2 Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production, Essays on Art and Literature, Edited and Introduced by Randal Johnson. 2: The Production of Belief: Contribution to an Economy of Symbolic Goods.